Monthly Archives: June 2012

Also, ate dozens of throat lozenges

Today, I got the TiVo to recognize the home network so that it can record programs, reinforced the triangular window on the duck house, added some fencing to keep geese from going into the duck pen, cleared the brush and trees that blocked the view of oncoming cars from the left when you pullout of our driveway, did some weeding in the sand pile, did laundry, made crystal lite, blew graphite into the front and back door handles and keyholes, cleaned the fountain spray to make it lower, moved a whole roll of 2 X 4 wire fencing to the back yard with the dolly, cleaned my office, sent floor plans on Pine St. to Paul C., wrote an article for my blog and wrote a new song.

An observation

When I’m actively doing something like speaking, writing, working or being involved with any activity at all, I occasionally have a stray thought come through my mind. This thought may be about  something I want to do in a few minutes, a few hours, tomorrow or even next week. Unfortunately, I almost never remember what it was I wanted to do. Actually, it’s amazing that I’ve remembered to write this at all.
So here’s the thing; let’s say I’m typing a blog entry into a word doc (which is what I’m doing right now). And as I type, I think “Hmn, I sure could use a cup of coffee.” I continue typing thinking that surely I will remember to go get a cup of coffee at the end of the sentence or the paragraph. But, no, that doesn’t happen.
What does happen is that after a short while I remember that I wanted to do something but that I’ve forgotten what it was. This is annoying.
Another thing that annoys me is not being able to remember the actual subject of the thought I’m in the middle of communicating. I might want to say “Yes, I know that the rain in Spain falls mainly in the plains,” but I’ll probably forget that the rain is in Spain and fumble at that point. And, if I remember the location of the rain, I’ll then stumble over where in Spain that rain is falling.
You know, I really DO want a coffee. I’ll get it in a few minutes. I want to finish my train of thought first.
At times during which I cannot remember some key aspect of what I am communicating, there comes the inevitable stalling for time tactic of saying “uh,” or “um” that hopefully buys me just enough time to remember the most important thing I’m trying to say…oh yeah, the rain falls in SPAIN! I knew that all along, but please don’t ask me where in Spain it falls. At least not right now.
At times, delaying tactics fail and a glaring silence announces my complete coherent thought epic fail. Ouch.
I asked my doctor if any of the medications that I am taking could contribute to the issues I’m now dealing with. Unfortunately, he said no. I pressed the issue a little, but he wasn’t buying it. He said something to the effect that “as we age…” at which point I purposefully forget what else he said.
So there it is. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with me. I’m just aging. Hey wait! Maybe there’s a pill to enhance memory. No wait, there is! I bought some at the Vitamin Center. I just keep forgetting to take them.

Pheasant house secured

I’m ready for the Red Golden Pheasant pair that will arrive in about a week or so. The hatchery is waiting for cooler weather. The birds can’t handle being shipped when it’s extremely hot. I did a lot of work to prevent any opportunity for a predator to get into their house; their accommodations await them!

The Philippines

 This evening, I find myself looking back into the past. If Mr. Peabody and Sherman were here, they’d be setting the WAYBAC machine for the year 1968. (Side note: Mr. Peabody and Sherman were cartoon characters appearing on the Rocky & Bullwinkle cartoon show of the mid sixties.)
I was 14 years old during some part of 1969, and living in San Angelo, Texas. My father was in the Air Force and stationed at Goodfellow Air Force Base. I loved living in Texas. I became a Boy Scout and enjoyed all the scouting activities, especially summer camp. Most days during the summer were spent at the base swimming pool. It was always warm and there was no humidity in central Texas. Although, I don’t think humidity was on my mind back then. I had a lot of friends, none of which I could name or even picture in my mind. Not one.
One evening, my father called the family together because he had news. He told us that he’d been assigned to Clark Air Base, in the Philippines. Moving wasn’t unusual in my family. The longest we normally stayed put was between 2 and 3 years. (Side note: In the course of my primary, secondary and high school education, I attended 14 different schools.) But this time was the first time we’d be leaving the country. 
My father was leaving ahead of us and we were to travel to the Philippines about 2 months later. This wasn’t the first time he had been stationed away from the family. Usually he would only be gone for a month or maybe up to 3 months. These were called TAD (temporary additional duty) assignments.
At the time, I didn’t have much of a reaction to the announcement of our impending move. I didn’t think about missing my friends. I didn’t worry about fitting into a new school. Those things were fairly routine events in my life and I was used to moving and all it entailed. From what I can remember, each time we moved I looked tentatively forward to the adventure ahead. But as I said, I didn’t really dwell on the matter. Making friends at the next destination would be easy; many of the kids there would also be expert migrant dependent children of military personnel.
I’ll jump ahead to give an example of the ease involved in establishing new friendships–I met my high school dormitory roommate in the B.X. (Base Exchange, the only store on the base, it carried everything) on Iraklion Air Station, Crete, Greece in the summer of 1971. We talked for a little while and we decided we’d be roommates when we left to attend the boarding high school in a few weeks. I didn’t see him again until I arrived at the school. We were friends the entire year until his father got reassigned sometime just before the school year ended. It was just that simple. 
Now I’m getting ready to go to the Philippines. There wasn’t anything for me to actually DO, but there were some changes in life before leaving. After my father left, my mother asked me to drive the car one day. I’d never driven a car before but I knew what the brake and gas pedals were for. The steering wheel was obvious. I got in the car, my brother and sister sat in the back (no seat belts) and my mother sat in the front passenger seat. I have no idea where we went but I drove us there. After that, my mother was delighted to be driven everywhere as she had been previously by my father, although now it was by her unlicensed 14 year old son. 
Being 14 and left to be the “man of the house,” I was then more independent than ever. I used to sneak out of the house at night to meet friends to go, well, wherever we went. Specifically, I remember one time we walked (about 2 miles or so) to the Concho River for a swim. Not a brilliant idea considering the abundance of water moccasins (AKA Cottonmouths) that could be found in just about any body of water in that region.
I think my nightly outings continued for several weeks until the night I was picked up by the police and brought home. My mother had no idea what to do about it and nothing was ever said about it after the fact. 
Another incident comes to mind in which an impending thunderstorm was imminent, one that had been forecast to be very intense with the highest probability of hail and even the possibility of a tornado.  I was home from school but my brother had different school hours and would be soon walking home. My mother told me to go pick him up due to the dangerous situation he’d be in while walking home, so I drove off (by myself) to find him. 
Soon after leaving, the hail did come and very large hailstones fell, some as large as baseballs (or so it seemed). In any case, they were large enough to pelt the car and make dozens of dents in it. This wasn’t a time to be outside unprotected. I soon found my brother, I don’t remember if he’d been hit by any hail or not, but I drove home through this severe thunderstorm with its intense lightening, hail and wind. It was so dark that the few cars I saw on the road had their lights on. I didn’t have my lights on; I hadn’t ever driven at night and didn’t know how to turn them on.
The day came that the movers arrived and they packed up our belongings into a moving truck. Looking back, it seemed like we had a lot of stuff to move but now when I think about it, we had very little.  I’m pretty sure that if I were moving that amount of belongings today, I would be able to move it all in about 4 trips using my truck. In any case, everything is packed and taken away, including the car. Yes, the car went to the Philippines too.
Travel day must have been soon, perhaps we left that day, I don’t remember. I do remember the airport, but not how we got there. We boarded a small propeller plane. I remember thinking it was really small. Not Cessna small, but small for a passenger plane. This plane would terrify me today, but back then, I was either oblivious to danger, fearless or indifferent. We flew to a major airport and took another (larger) plane to California. From there we flew to Hawaii, then to Wake Island and stopped in Guam before arriving in the Philippines.

Upon arriving in the Philippines, I remember the overwhelming humidity I felt when the plane door opened. I had just come from an arid region and now walked out of the plane (there was no jet way as there would be today) into an extremely humid tropical monsoon climate. Climate shock!

Living in the Philippines was fantastic. All my memories of living off-base (In the Diamond Subdivision) are warm (no pun intended), pleasant and are an exciting time to reminisce about my experiences in the late sixties. I may pick up this story line again and write about my time in the Philippines but here is where today’s story ends. I turned 15 during my time in the Philippines, where were you when youwere 15 and what was your life like?

Successful capture!

The raccoon was finally captured! I set the trap out this morning in the same place as the previous 2 mornings. On schedule, it came out from under the barn and went into the trap. It was eating peanut butter for a while and I thought I hadn’t put the bait far enough into the trap and it was successfully reaching over the trip plate for its snack. But then it must have taken that one extra step and Blam! The door shuts tight.

I moved the trap away from the geese so they couldn’t see it, it was still ruining their day.

Let’s avoid the “poor raccoon” sentiment. You probably wouldn’t think it was so cute as it ate the head off of a chicken and killed two others for no apparent reason. Or perhaps you can visualize it eating one of more of the 1-week old goslings. I suppose there’s no reason to believe it couldn’t win in a fight against one of the full-grown geese either.